Baltimore should heed pope's message

September 24, 2013

The news media has focused considerable attention on the recent interview with Pope Francis ("Pope Francis faults Catholic Church's focus on gay marriage, abortion," Sept. 19). I have now read the entire published interview, and it is truly remarkable.

The interview reveals the pope as a highly intellectual and cultured man who is also authentically humble. He clearly believes that the church needs to be involved with all mankind. Some of his remarks seem to be directed at the hierarchy and clergy, but I wonder how the pope's vision for the church will play out in the local Baltimore Catholic community. In recent years, we have witnessed high profile initiatives by the local Catholic leadership which have caused pain and anger.

We have been shocked by the willingness of the local church to close parochial schools in the inner city. The pope addresses the concept of collegiality, and I think he means more than just placing bankers and other bean counters on so-called "blue ribbon" committees. The church in Baltimore needs to be about more than just the bottom line.

Clearly, the pope wants all bishops and priests to become more pastoral in their outreach. I assume that there are some bishops who are not up to the task. I believe that they should resign their office and assume some other role not requiring pastoral leadership.

Pope Francis is obviously a man who will offer dynamic leadership as he interprets the Gospel message as one of inclusion recognizing the reality that we are all sinners.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

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